From Publishers Weekly
Carroll, a writer and therapist, bore quite a cross in rearing her fiery, unstable daughter, the rock icon who sets this memoir in motion by trumpeting her pregnancy. Fearing a "curse of the firstborn daughter," Carroll is seized with the urge to seek her own biological mother and mend a tattered matrilineal line. She discloses her past with a sprawling account of Catholic schools, friendships, romances and pregnancies in 1960s San Francisco, in prose mired with detail but often wry and touching. Carroll's social-climbing adoptive parents seem at best ambivalent, at worst cruel. In 1993, after Courtney's rise to fame and stormy estrangement from Carroll, the author finds her biological mother: Paula Fox, the acclaimed children's author who became pregnant as an abandoned teen. The two are kindred spirits, and it's a heartwarming twist that the act of writing, on many levels, becomes Carroll's portal to her past. The promise of dish on Courtney and the emotional reunion with Paula—along with Carroll's tender wit and poignant honesty (Courtney's siblings saw her "as glamorous, but with sharp claws and teeth")—will keep readers soldiering through this often exhaustive history.
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Despite the suggestive subtitle, Carroll's memoir is far less tell-all than it is her personal recollections of growing up feeling alienated from her adoptive family, her peers, and her religion. Born with an inquisitive mind, Linda has trouble relating to her tightly wound adoptive mother, Louella, and her sexually abusive adoptive father, Jack. While her friendships with other girls are deep and stable, her relationships with men prove to be much more complicated. Carroll finds herself pregnant at 18 by a man she does not love, but she marries him and gives birth to a girl, Courtney. The marriage does not last, and Carroll spends the next decade in search of happiness, marrying twice again and going as far as New Zealand as her relationship with Courtney deteriorates. Years later, when Courtney is pregnant with her own child, Carroll finally seeks her own birth mother and is surprised to discover she is renowned writer Paula Fox. A thoughtful memoir of one woman's coming-of-age in the turbulent 1960s and 1970s. Kristine HuntleyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved